By JESS WEBSTER
Canberra has climbed to equal second on the NEAFL ladder with their good form continuing on Saturday with a 33-point victory over Aspley at South Pine Sports Complex.
The Demons led from start to finish in the 13.21 (99) to 9.12 (66) win, notching up their fifth consecutive victory heading in to next week’s bye.
Adding an extra element to the contest was the midfield battle between two of this year’s NEAFL MVP contenders in Matthew Payne and Mitch Maguire.
Both were excellent contributors to their sides, with Payne ending the match with 38 disposals, 10 clearances, nine inside 50s and two goals, while Maguire collected 33 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal.
It was the Demons who set the tone early, kicking four goals to one in the opening term to lead by 19 points at the first change.
Aspley began to click in to gear in the second, producing two goals in the opening four minutes to debutant Josh Preval and key forward Jono Freeman.
But Canberra stood strong, booting the next three in a relatively even quarter.
It was after the main break in which the Demons set themselves up for victory. Captain Aaron Bruce; first major followed by an opportunistic snap from Maguire had the visitors edge further clear.
Payne was Aspley’s only goal kicker for the term as Canberra opened up a match-winning 42-point lead by the last change.
Aspley gave themselves slight hope with two goals in the first 90 seconds of the last, but the damage was already done as the Demons cruised home.
In the end, it was the tale of the two club’s seasons as Canberra found a spread of contributors while Aspley again struggled to kick a winning score.
The Hornets comfortably won the hit-outs (54-27), clearances (41-27) and had only two less inside 50s, but produced 21 scoring shots to Canberra’s 34.
Led by Maguire and Mitch Hardie (21 disposals, three goals), the Demons had nine individual goal scorers with defender Alex Paech keeping Freeman to one goal and youngster Jack Powell (15 disposals, five tackles, three goals) playing important roles.
Payne was again a standout for Aspley alongside ruckman Jake Spencer (22 disposals, 45 hit-outs, 10 clearances), Jordan Arnold (20 disposals) and Jordan Hayden (18 disposals, five rebound 50s).
The Hornets will battle the GIANTS next week at Spotless Stadium, while the Demons have the bye.
Aspley Hornets v Canberra Demons at South Pine Sports Complex
CANBERRA 4.4 7.9 11.13 13.21 (99) ASPLEY 1.3 4.4 5.7 9.12 (66)
GOALS – Canberra: J Powell 3 M Hardie 3 J Turner T Faul S Tonkes C Milne A Bruce M Maguire J Osborne. Aspley: B Warren 2 M Payne 2 J Preval 2 J Freeman L Hampton J Giles.
BEST – Canberra: M Hardie M Maguire A Paech J Powell A Smout H Carr. Aspley: M Payne J Spencer J Arnold J Hayden.